March 30, 2017
How strong is support for Macron, really?
Manuel Valls confirmed he will vote for Emmanuel Macron. Does this accelerate the demise of the Socialist party? Valls certainly confirmed with his choice what he always said as prime minister, that there are two irreconcilable camps inside the Socialist party. So, the two sides now cross swords over who betrayed whom: Benoît Hamon when he rebelled against Valls' reform course as prime minister, or Valls who refuses to endorse the candidate coming out of the party primaries.
Valls' support is not without risks for Macron. Renewal looks different to this. There is history between the two men, too. And no-one in France believes that Valls is simply submitting to a junior minister he had so much trouble with during his own time as prime minister. So, is everyone looking at the legislative elections already? How does Macron's En Marche! movement counterbalance this influx from the left? So far there are more dissidents from the left than from the right on Macron’s supporters' list. And this looks unlikely to change. It might change after moment he qualifies for the second round.
Some MPs already have a budget from their party to start campaigning for the after the presidential elections, writes the Journal du Dimanche. This is an advantage, but it does not mean that Macron and his movement would have no chances in the legislative elections. The MEP Jean-Marie Cavada told the JDD that the voters will give their president a majority, like they did for François Mitterrand in 1981. (The difference is that Mitterrand had an established party behind him, not something that calls itself a movement).
Another uncertainty is linked to the presidential election itself. Emmanuel Macron might be leading the polls together with Marine Le Pen, but his electorate is much less certain than those supporting François Fillon or Le Pen. According to the Ipsos poll, Le Pen and Macron would qualify for the second round with 25% and 24%, ahead of Francois Fillon with 18%. But it is also instructive to look at how solid their support is. Among those who want to vote for Macron, 47% say that they could still change their mind. This is well above the 16% and 18% for Fillon and Le Pen respectively. For the candidates on the left, Jean-Luc Mélenchon is coming fourth with 14% but 40% of those are not sure yet whether they will stick to him. For Benoît Hamon the outcome is worse: he is trailing in the polls with 12%, and of those 52% of are not certain of their choice yet.